Knights Essay Contest

St. Thecla Knights of Columbus Essay Contest Winners


 St. Thecla Council #12403 sponsored two separate essay contests this year, one for the 7th grade and one for the 8th grade.  We had 23 entrants from the 7th grade and 31 from the 8th grade.   Essays were judged by a team of 3 Knights from our Council on the following criteria:  Overall impression, content, grammar, and style.  The topic for the 7th grade students was “Describe an event in your life that has brought you closer to Jesus Christ.”  The topic for the 8th grade was, “In what ways has your Catholic education made a positive difference in your life?” 


 We are happy to announce the 3 top scorers from each grade.  These 6 students wrote phenomenal essays and they and their families should be very proud of the example they have set for all St. Thecla Catholic School students.  Here are the winners from each grade and the cash award they received:


7th Grade.

1st Place:  Dean Oakie, $50

2nd Place: Analies O’Brien, $30

3rd Place:  Kate Gentry, $20


8th Grade.

1st Place:   Kevin Hagstrom, $50

2nd Place:  Reagan Stempin, $30

3rd Place:  Mark Kramer, $20



We would like to thank all of the students who participated in this contest for their hard work and excellent thoughts that went into their efforts.  Also, thanks to Ms. Prior for her tutelage in guiding her students in the preparation of their essays.  Below are the essays written by our 2 first place winners.


Dave Schweiger, Program Director

St. Thecla Knights of Columbus #12403


Describe an event in your life that has brought you closer to Jesus Christ

By Dean Okie


Have you ever had an event in your life that has brought you closer to Jesus?  Well, I have.  The event that brought me closer to Jesus was when my sister became sick and ended up in the hospital.  This has changed my life dramatically in many ways.  This event started off very scary, but eventually, with Jesus’ help, became the time in my life that I saw Jesus perform his biggest miracle in my family.

The week started off with my sister complaining of pain throughout her body.  My parents took her to see four different types of doctors, but no one could figure out what was wrong with her.  At this point, I was worried and afraid for her.  I prayed and asked Jesus to help the doctors figure out what was wrong with my sister.  That’s when she ended up in the hospital, and under the care of a wonderful neurologist.  Through Jesus’ grace, this doctor finally diagnosed my sister’s illness and started her on treatments.

Once the treatments started, my family was praying for miraculous healing of my sister.  I thought she would be back to her healthy self quickly, but her illness became worse before she got better.  One night her pain was so bad that she cried and asked God why this was happening to her.  I prayed a lot to Jesus, and asked Him how I could help my sister.  At this time, I remembered how much she liked her Snapchat.  I picked up her phone because her arms couldn’t move, and laid down next to her and began reading her messages.  This helped her focus and forget about the pain for a while.  After I did this, I realized that Jesus was working through me to comfort my sister.

After a week of treatment, it was time for her to start to heal.  She didn’t just need physical healing, but emotional healing as well.  She couldn’t walk and had to use a wheelchair.  She was extremely sad that she couldn’t go to school or play soccer.  Once again I looked to Jesus for inspiration, and as usual, He had an answer.  A new physical therapist began to work with my sister, and helped to strengthen my sister’s body and spirit.  Over the next few weeks, my sister became stronger and returned to school.  Her recovery made me realize how open Jesus is to my prayers.

My sister’s illness made me understand that Jesus is not only there when I am happy, but when I am scared, tired, or lost.  Knowing this helps me be a better friend, brother, and son, because I can show the same compassion to those who need my help.  This makes me a follower of Jesus and I truly know that I was created in His image.  I know I just have to look around to see His miracles in my everyday life.  No matter what I have to face, I know I will never have to face it alone.


 In what ways has your Catholic education made a positive difference

 in your life?

By Kevin Hagstrom

            Did you go to a Catholic School when you were a kid?  If so, what did you learn. Well, I go to St. Thecla Catholic School, and I have learned so many things that will help me grow in life.  There are three ways my Catholic education made a positive difference in my life.  They are the following:  it has made me a better-version-of-myself; it has helped my academics grow; and it has brought me closer to God.

My Catholic education has made me a better-version-of-myself.  It has helped me to notice the violence and hatred in society today, recognize the mistakes I have made in the past, and develop solutions for the mistakes and violence.  I can’t help with the violence directly, but I can pray that it stops happening.  My education has taught me to forgive, treat others the ways I would want to be treated, and love others unconditionally.  Over the years, I believe I have become more loving, caring, and helpful towards others.  I try daily to work on those deeds inside of school and outside of school.  Thanks to a good Catholic education, I can be a good Christian role-model.

Catholic education is not all about faith, but it’s also about academics.  St. Thecla Catholic School gives a more advanced education.  I have learned things in the eighth grade that my parents learned as a senior in high school. This makes me want to work harder to excel and succeed.  I set the bar high for myself and have learned the importance of strong study habits.  This has allowed me to be ready for the tough challenges in life.  For instance, it gets me ready for high school and the real world.  I have learned basic life lessons and the teachings of Jesus Christ.  My academics have grown since the first day I came to St. Thecla in Preschool.  By making my education grow, I will be ready for the challenges and barriers life will make me face.  I will be ready for them because I know my Christian faith and Catholic Education are behind me.

Going to a Catholic school has absolutely brought me closer to God.  My faith has grown tremendously.  A Catholic education has made my prayer life stronger; and it has made my relationship with God grow.  I feel more confident about my faith and have a greater belief in God.  My strong faith helped me to not be afraid to openly pray in front of others.  I have become more involved in the mass by serving as an altar server.  I look to always serve God.  Being closer to God helps me to know that God is always with me.  It has allowed me to realize that God hears my cries of pain in Heaven.  By bringing me closer to God, my Catholic education has definitely made me a stronger believer and respectful follower of God.

Jesus sacrificed himself for us.  The least I can do is appreciate my education, not waste it and make the most of each and every day by striving to do my best.  My Catholic education has brought me closer to God, has helped my academics grow, and has made me a better-version-of-myself.  These are the three reasons why my Catholic education has made a very positive difference in my life.  If you went to a Catholic School, I hope that your Catholic education made a positive difference in your life, mine certainly did.